2012

Mickey Mouse at hte Magic Kingdom in his xmas finest

Holiday Highlights for Walt Disney World

Mickey Mouse at hte Magic Kingdom in his xmas finest

Walt Disney World is out with its annual list of activities for the Christmas season at the parks and resorts. At first glance, it’s not all that impressive of a list. There’s nothing major that’s new and many of the favorite activities from former years remain retired. That said, there’s still nothing as magical as Walt Disney World when it’s decorated for the winter holidays. There may be less of it, but it’s still head and shoulders over what is offered by most of its rivals.

Visitors to Walt Disney World will be able to experience some of the yuletide glow as early as November 9. There’s also an extra night of merry at the Magic Kingdom with 20 nights of Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party; and at Epcot, Candlelight Processional. Here are some additional highlights:

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will have its longest-ever run with 20 magical nights from November 9-December 21. For a quarter century, Walt Disney World guests have been mesmerized by this must-see event, a grandly festive tradition immersing families in the holiday spirit. Dates for 2012: Nov. 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21. Beginning at 7 p.m. (after regular park hours), guests with special event tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor with lively stage shows, spectacular fireworks, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. For more information, visit www.Disneyworld.com/Christmasparty. NOTE: this is a hard ticket special event after regular park hours; purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.

Entertainment, Fireworks and More: Santa’s elves have transformed the Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. The fun includes the Holiday Wishes nighttime spectacular: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks, plus live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays.

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EPCOT Food and Wine Festival Report

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Today is my first chance to get out and explore the EPCOT Food & Wine Festival. I’m here as an invited media guest, which means I get access to a few places the day guest isn’t allowed. I’ll be sharing those and updating this post throughout the day with highlights of our excursions.

This the 17th annual International Food and Wine Festival at EPCOT and it includes more than 25 ethnic and regional marketplaces with tantalizing new drinks and flavors to explore around the World Showcase. The culinary event has even been named one of the Best Food and Wine Festivals by Travel Channel.

Foodie will celebrate with these new experiences: a new chocolate tasting, fresh Florida Local flavors, and the first marketplace with vegan cuisine. The festival also introduces its first watermelon patch, brings back the popular cranberry bog experience, and continues the nightly “Eat to the Beat” concert series — this year, featuring acts including Smash Mouth, Blues Traveler, Boyz II Men, and the Pointer Sisters.

Photos continue below :

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2012 Food & Wine Festival Poster

EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Launches Tomorrow

The 2012 International Food & Wine Festival at EPCOT officially opens tomorrow, however, the food booths are open today as a soft opening. It will run for 46 days until November 16th and is one of the most popular food festivals in the world. Chefs… Read More »EPCOT Food & Wine Festival Launches Tomorrow

2012 Disney World Halloween Merchandise Now Available

As I was walking through Disney’s Hollywood Studios on Saturday, I spotted a merchandise display all set up with new Halloween themed merchandise for 2012. The merchandise team has really generated some great creative this year. From the Fab Four to the Hitch-Hiking Ghosts of the Haunted Mansion I think there’s something for every fan to like this year.

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Walt Disney World Plans Magical 2012 Winter Holiday Season

For many fans Walt Disney World has two seasons, the winter holidays and everything else. There is no question that the parks, resorts, and surrounding areas look all the more magical with the Christmas decorations. Guests are often in a better mood too as they share some special family time in the parks. This year the holiday season starts building on November 9th and Walt Disney World has lined up some extra merry for good measure.

In fact, here is a video from Disney showing how preparations are already underway for this year’s decorations.

Here are some of the highlights from around the resort:

Magic Kingdom

Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party will have its longest-ever run with 20 magical nights from November 9-December 21. For a quarter century, Walt Disney World guests have been mesmerized by this must-see event, a grandly festive tradition immersing families in the holiday spirit. Dates for 2012: Nov. 9, 12, 15, 16, 25, 27, 29, 30 and Dec. 2, 4, 6, 7, 9, 11, 13, 14, 16, 18, 20, 21. Beginning at 7 p.m. (after regular park hours), guests with special event tickets to Mickey’s Very Merry Christmas Party can enjoy all the holiday splendor with lively stage shows, spectacular fireworks, a unique holiday parade and favorite holiday traditions including complimentary cookies and hot cocoa, and snow flurries on Main Street, U.S.A. NOTE: this is a hard ticket special event after regular park hours; purchasing tickets in advance is highly recommended.

Entertainment, Fireworks and More: Santa’s elves have transformed the Magic Kingdom into a winter wonderland with festive wreaths, bows, garland, sparkling lights, parades and towering Christmas trees. The fun includes the Holiday Wishes nighttime spectacular: Celebrate the Spirit of the Season fireworks, plus live entertainment with Disney characters all dressed up for the holidays.

Castle Dream Lights on Cinderella Castle: Cinderella Castle transforms into a glimmering ice palace for the holidays — thanks to a special effects spectacle bathing the castle in 200,000 shimmering white lights. Magic Kingdom guests are treated nightly to the dramatic castle celebration and stage show.

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Checking in with ABC’s 2011-12 Lineup

8 months and 13 shows later, we have seen every new show ABC has to offer for this 2011-2012 season. Now we have had a few flops (I’m looking at you “Work It”), but we have had a really solid season…especially compared to last year. When your biggest show is “No Ordinary Family,” you have a problem. Anyways, I felt like now would be a wonderful time to reflect on the past season. Find out the hits, the misses and what to look forward to this summer.

THE MISSES: It’s always better to start off with the bad…right? Out of the 13, 3 have already been cancelled. Those three include the I-Take-Myself-Too-Seriously “Charlie’s Angels,” the Did-I-Actually-Have-Any-Fans “Man Up,” and finally, the piece de resistance, the Why-ABC-Just-Why “Work It”. Many people could see from a mile away that these would be cancelled within weeks of their premiere, and they were right.

There are also a few shows as of now that are on the brink of cancellation including the Started-Off-Great-But-Nosedived-Like-The-Subject-Matter “Pan-Am” and the Trying-To-Get-The-Same-Viewership-Numbers-As-Paranormal-Activity “The River”. Both ended with about 3 million viewers watching the final episode…which does not bode well with ABC execs. Don’t be too surprised to see press releases stating that they have been cancelled in the coming months. So 5 out of 13 are duds, which is not a bad percentage. Luckily, ABC could make up for those with the other, actually good, shows.

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EPCOT 2012 Flower & Garden Festival Photo Update

2012 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival
I definitely recommend arriving to EPCOTon the Monorail when the Flower & Garden Festival is underway. It’s gorgeous from above and on the ground. (Click for Larger.)

I was out of town for the opening of the 2012 Flower & Garden Festival at EPCOT. But finally made it over for a quick jaunt around the park on Monday. I only had time to hit the highlights and, while there’s technically a bit less this year than last, what they did install is amazingly beautiful.

2012 EPCOT Flower and Garden Festival
Looks to be something of a butterfly theme this year. The new larger butterfly tent is back too. (Click for Larger.)


Sorcerer Mickey graces the entrance. (Click for Larger.)

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EPCOT Flower & Garden Festival Blooming Soon

The 2012 EPCOT International Flower & Garden Festival will begin blooming soon. In just over a month the park will roll out its 19th festival and the third with HGTV as a sponsor. I think it’s been a great partnership and look forward to seeing what the combined forces can bring this year.

One of the highlights promises to be the Sorcerer Mickey topiary that’s part of the largest-ever Disney front-entrance topiary. There will be a stellar cast of HGTV design celebrities and a great line up of artists at the Flower Power concert  series.

Here’s a sneak peek of this year’s festival news:

  • The 19th Epcot International Flower & Garden Festival presented by HGTV runs March 7-May 20.
  • Disney’s gardening magic goes a long way when an eight-foot-tall floral Sorcerer Mickey topiary holds court in front of the park’s iconic Spaceship Earth.  Standing atop a 12-foot-tall floral mountain cliff, Sorcerer Mickey directs a riot of color in the manicured shapes of dancing broomsticks, buckets, mushrooms, hippos, alligators and elephants straight from the classic Disney film, “Fantasia.” The scene pops with pink geraniums, white poppies, violet petunias, blue delphiniums and pansies.
  • Twice daily each Friday through Sunday of the festival, HGTV designers and hosts share their insights on landscapes and design with Festival Center audiences.  John Gidding of “Curb Appeal: The Block” kicks off the series March 9-11 with curb-appeal design tips for homeowners.
  • Music fills each festival weekend when pop music hitmakers of the 1960s and ’70s rule the America Gardens Theatre stage with performances of their greatest songs.  Jose Feliciano ignites the Flower Power concert series March 9-11 with his treasure trove of tunes.  Two new festival acts are in store:  Chuck Negron formerly of Three Dog Night (April 27-29) and The Orchestra featuring former members of ELO and ELO Part II (May 4-6).

The front-entrance floral spectacle will welcome guests to a festival packed with new gardens and displays, featured speakers and hands-on fun for all ages, including daily gardening workshops with take-home projects for all who participate.

Thirty million blooms, 240 floating mini-gardens on two ponds, 700 container gardens of flowers, herbs, plants and vegetables, dozens of Disney character topiaries, 30 “flower towers” of impatiens and sweeping beds of original floral designs create a new tapestry of brilliant color across the 260-acre Epcot landscape.  It takes more than one year and 400 Walt Disney World horticulturists to plan and prepare for the 75-day festival.

Halfway through the festival, Disney gardeners remove the cold-hardy blossoms that thrive in March and early April to plant a new crop of flowers that flourish in spring’s warmer temperatures.  And throughout the event, dozens of gardening experts meet guests daily with fresh landscape ideas for 2012.  Daily workshops at the Festival Center let guests dig into projects they can take home at the end of the day.

Don’t Miss!

  • The Festival Center– Guests can shop for festival merchandise, attend demonstrations and get ideas and tips from master gardeners.  In Future World between Universe of Energy and Mission:SPACE.
  • Disney Gardening at Home presentations – Disney horticulturists and local experts like Robert Bowden of Harry P. Leu Gardens will share gardening tips and lead guests in a hands-on, take-home activity. At the Festival Center.
  • Special Festival Weekend Celebrations – An Art in the Garden celebration of plein air artists is scheduled March 23-25; a Disney’s Animal Kingdom Specialists weekend presents indigenous insects that are part of our world; a Florida Federation of Garden Clubs gathering will be April 27-29; and a Fresh from Florida Farmer’s Market salute is slated for May 4-6.
  • Bambi’s Butterfly House, three times the size of the festival’s original, is a-flutter with multiple species of brilliant butterflies.  At Imagination Walkway by Innoventions West.
  • Pixie Hollow Fairy Garden  Fabulous Disney fairy topiaries alight to greet young fans who enter this whimsical garden designed with play structures for children ages 2-5.  At the Test Track Walkway.
  • The HGTV Designers Stage presents HGTV celebrities each Friday through Sunday and nationally recognized garden personalities Monday through Thursday.  At the Festival Center.
  • Flower Power concert series welcomes back 20th century pop favorites this year when Chubby Checker and The Wildcats, Paul Revere & The Raiders, Davy Jones and eight other bands rock the America Gardens Theatre with their timeless tunes.  Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Performers and appearance dates subject to change.

Join us below the fold for some topiary trivia:

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